Tips for Exploring the Caribbean

Bora Island in the Caribbean

Visiting the Caribbean is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. These gorgeous islands are a true marvel of nature’s beauty, and you’ll have a hard time finding a place that is as beautiful as them. Now, while over 30 million people visit the Caribbean every year, only a small percentage of them actually experience it properly. Coming here without any forethought or preparation is only going to lead to you exploring the Caribbean as a tourist. Which, in our book, is no proper way to explore it. So, before you hop on a boat or plane, here are a few tips on how to explore the Caribbean properly.

Preparing for your trip

Most people believe that the best way to travel is the spur of the moment kind of thing. Suddenly you get an urge to explore the Caribbean and you simply jump on the next plane. But, while there is a certain pleasure in the spontaneity of this kind of travel, it is no way to properly explore the Caribbean. In order to truly experience these islands and have a general sense of awe while you visit them, you need to have some planning and preparations.

Do your research

Saying that you are going to visit the Caribbean is like saying that you are going to visit Europe. The area you are visiting is so spacious and rich in history and culture that it is impossible to explore it all in a single go. So, the best thing to do is to first research what the Caribbean is all about. Remember that the Caribbean consist of over 700 islands and 26 countries. Each of those countries has its own history and relationship with other countries, so don’t be surprised if there is a lot to read up on. But, to truly appreciate what the Caribbean has to offer, you do need to know a bit about its history.

 

 

 

A historical monument in the Caribbean

Only by exploring the Caribbean can you get the true appreciation of what the Caribbean is today.

Ideally, you should have input into the general history of the Caribbean and then focus on a single country. When it comes to exploring the Caribbean, this tends to be the best way as it allows you to get the full appreciation of the place you are visiting.

Plan your trip

With that in mind, the best way to explore the Caribbean is to situate yourself in a single country. Don’t try to visit everything, as you will not have the time nor the ability to appreciate what you are seeing. Most tourists go on cruises from island to island and only see glimpses of what each island has to offer. And, once you consider that there are 700 islands, you will easily understand that you cannot visit all of them. So, don’t. Focus on a single island or country and make your plan as exciting and interesting as possible. The more you explore the islands, the more you will realize how it ties into the whole of Caribbean. Therefore, by focusing on a single island, you will get a better idea of what the Caribbean is all about.

Accommodation and airfare

Most of you probably know this, but we are going to mention it none the less. The sooner you start planning your trip to the Caribbean, the cheaper it is going to be. This goes both for accommodation and your airfare, considering that the plane ride to the Caribbean can be a bit long. So, if you want to do yourself and your wallet a favor, start planning as soon as possible. You may get lucky and find a cheap last-minute deal. But those are often limited and require a fair bit of flexibility.

Exploring the Caribbean

So, once you’ve dealt will preparations and arrive at the Caribbean, how are you supposed to actually go about exploring it? Visiting museums and studying history is a must. But, there are other tips and guides you should adhere to in order to have the best possible time in the Caribbean.

Take your time

A lot of people fall in love with the Caribbean once they visit it and end up moving here. If this happens to you, remember that there is an easy way to choose the right movers and that you’ll need to find a good real estate agent in order to get a good home. But, even if you are staying here for a short while, remember to take your time. Enjoy the local food, explore the culture and appreciate the history.

 

A Caribbean seafood dish

Do not make the mistake of leaving the Caribbean without trying their local seafood.

Our advice is to get the best-selling books in the area and read them while you are here. The art of local people will help you bring the right mindset for exploring the Caribbean, which is why it is essential that you explore this aspect as well. Remember that it’s the people who make the place worth remembering. Speaking of which:

Meet the locals

People of the Caribbean tend to be quite friendly. By going to the local pub and buying a round of drinks, you are bound to meet some local people. And, as it turns out, they are your best way of finding out what the Caribbean is like. Books and documentaries can only give you a partial view of the Caribbean. But, to truly appreciate the lifestyle and culture, you need to meet the locals.

A historical monument in the Caribbean

The people of the Caribbean tend to be quite friendly and welcoming.

Only once you meet someone who lives here will you get the honest feel of what life here is like. Plus, you will get great tips on how to save money while visiting the Caribbean and not waste it on tourist items. This is especially important to remember if you plan on staying here for a while.

 

Must Visit Locations in Australia

Australia is a big country full of natural wonders, laid-back cities and sandy beaches, and there are certain locations you must visit in order to experience that Aussie atmosphere and beauty. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious traveler or just a simple tourist, we present to you the top locations in Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is almost synonymous with Australia. It’s about 2,300 km long, making it a home for some of the rarest and most unique flora and fauna on Earth. Of course, you can’t see every part of the reef, but make sure to visit Whitsunday Islands that are simply gorgeous. Maybe the best way to see the reef is by taking a two- to three-day sailing tour. The Great Barrier Reef is full of scuba diving and snorkeling spots unique to the area and you will remember those sights forever.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay (1)

Byron Bay is not only popular with tourists, but it’s also a beloved vacation destination for many Aussies. It has many kilometers of sandy beaches, beautiful weather, surfing waves, scuba diving spots and many other attractions. Make sure you see the lighthouse in sunset and take some amazing photos or enjoy some music at the range of festivals all over the year. Byron Bay can be a bit crowded at times, but that’s normal for a top destination and a place as beautiful as this.

Uluru

Uluru

If you decide to visit Australia, you just have to see Uluru. Uluru is a huge sandstone formation surrounded by springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. It’s a sacred place for the Aboriginal people from that area, full of magic and history, and is simply so magnificent you must see it too. You can take a guided tour from Adelaide that lasts about three beautiful days. You’ll get to see not only Uluru, but explore the natural wonders of Watarrka National Park, see boulders of Kata Tjuta and have beautiful meals under the stars. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sydney

Sydney

You simply can’t visit Australia and not see Sydney! It offers so many interesting and beautiful sites to see. Enjoy the view of the famous Opera House from the Sydney Harbour, check out the Sydney Zoo and the renowned Mainly beach. If you want to see Sydney from above, visit Sydney Tower and enjoy a beautiful panorama of the whole city. If you’re young (or just young at heart) remember that Sydney’s one of the Australia’s nightlife centers. It has so many different clubs, bars or pubs that everybody will be able to find their favorite spot. When in Sydney, make sure to visit Randwick, especially if you’re a sports lover. Randwick is a suburb in Eastern Sydney that offers all kinds of different activities from chill walks to competitive team sports. But, make sure to take a walk along Randwick’s Coastal Walkway and enjoy wonderful views, and unique flora and fauna of the coastline. If you’re a surfer, you can try out the waves at Maroubra or Coogee Beach or simply enjoy surf carnivals from the shore. There are many Randwick serviced apartments located close to Randwick’s main attractions, so you don’t even have to worry about transport. Relax and have fun!

Melbourne

Melbourne

The indescribable atmosphere, art, multiculturalism, food and nightlife all make Melbourne a must-visit place in Australia. But, you simply must take a drive on the Great Ocean Road. What is interesting about this coastal road are the sights you’ll see on your way. Strong waves and winds over time created giant monoliths of rocks that are called the 12 Apostles. Now there are only eight standing, but are definitely worth seeing.

Australia has so many things to offer, and every traveler will find something to spark their interest. Start planning your trip and pick the hotels that suit your budget and your itinerary. Welcome to the Land Down Under and enjoy!

Barcelona: The City With Something for Everyone

The seaside center of Catalonian culture, Barcelona, is one of Spain’s most scintillating cities. Top travel destinations often claim to “have it all,” but this is particularly true for Barcelona, where tourists can marvel at Gothic and Modernist architecture by day and sway to the saucy rhythms of Iberian party music by night.

Barcelona is cosmopolitan yet historic, charming yet wild and filled with sublime flavors and Michelin star restaurants. The city’s renowned gastronomy draws on unique influences from the Basque country and Catalonian region, creating a hip mix of modern and traditional Spanish flavors you won’t find anywhere else, even within Spain itself.

Sound captivating? It is. The shorter your trip to Barcelona, the longer you’ll want to stay, but then again, the longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. It’s no secret that Barcelona draws you in almost immediately, but now the only question is: Draws you into where? Hipmunk hotels in Barcelona are some of the finest in the world, and you’ll wish you never had to check out.

Art and Eats: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Not many hotels can claim to be more unique than this — a skyscraper located right on the beach with unparalleled views of the Mediterranean. As its name suggests, Hotel Arts celebrates the artistic spirit at the core of Barcelona. Your taste buds will go wild with the hotel’s six different restaurants featuring renowned chefs and exquisite cuisine. As far as architecture goes, the hotel considers itself part of Barcelona’s recent “cultural renaissance,” which means if you’re looking for a place in step with this dynamic city, this is it. Sip specialty drinks at a pool adjacent to the glistening Mediterranean Sea and sit in the shadow of Frank Gehry’s famous fish sculpture, one of the city’s most celebrated contemporary works of art.

Football and Fanfare: Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel

It’s impossible to mention Barcelona without at least touching upon the one sport that rivets the population like no other. If you’re a soccer — football in Spain– fan, get in the game by staying at Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel, just two blocks from the home of the world-famous Barcelona Football Club, the Camp Nou Stadium. Wondering why the hotel has a regal rather than a sports-themed name? That’s because it’s even closer, just one short block away, from the Royal Palace. But with the hotel’s lush five-star luxury, you won’t need to visit the nearby estate to feel like nobility.

Sights and Sounds: Olivia Plaza Hotel Barcelona

Located in the midst of the hustle and bustle, Olivia Plaza Hotel is ideal for those serial sightseers. It’s just steps away from Olivia Plaza and La Rambla, the boulevard famous for shopping and entertainment. Its prime location is also right near Catalunya, a subway hub, so those looking to explore the city inside and out will have easy access to the train network. You’ll be within walking distance to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art with the classic Arco de Triunfo in the other direction, and you’re likely to see some major landmarks just by strolling the streets around this prime hotel.

Nature and Relaxation: ABaC Restaurant & Hotel

The city of Barcelona itself is so exciting that it’s easy to stay within its bounds and forget the inspiring landscapes that surround it. That won’t happen with this stylish hotel, located near the picturesque foothills surrounding the city. This proximity to nature, as well as its excellent spa and wellness center, makes Hipmunk ABaC the ideal location in Barcelona if you just want to relax and allow the vibrant spirit of the city to rejuvenate you.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on December 21, 2015.